Preliminary steel imports up 19 percent

Based on preliminary Census Bureau data, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported on Aug. 24 that the U.S. imported a total of 2,415,000 net tons (NT) of steel in July, including 1,797,000 NT of finished steel (up 19 percent and 15 percent, respectively, from June data).

Annualized total and finished steel imports in 2010 would be 24.2 and 18.8 million NT, respectively, up 49 percent and 33 percent vs. 2009. Finished steel import market share was an estimated 22 percent in July vs. 20 percent in June and a low of 15 percent in August 2009.

In the first seven months of 2010, total and finished steel imports were up 47 percent and 23 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

Key finished steel products with significant import increases in July 2010 compared to June include line pipe (up 61 percent), oil country goods (up 34 percent), plates in coils (up 26 percent), hot rolled sheets (up 26 percent) and cut length plates (up 22 percent). Many finished steel products have registered significant year-to-date import increases in 2010 vs. the same period last year, including wire rods (up 166 percent) and hot rolled sheets (up 56 percent).

 n July, the largest volumes of finished steel imports from offshore were from South Korea (196,000, up 29 percent), Japan (125,000 NT, up 75 percent), Germany (87,000, up 41 percent), India (145,000 NT, up 177 percent) and China (94,000, up 19 percent). For the first seven months of 2010, the largest offshore suppliers were South Korea (1,085,000, up 28 percent), Japan (746,000 NT, up 16 percent) and Germany (539,000 NT, up 68 percent). Below are charts on estimated steel import market share in recent months and on finished steel imports from offshore by country.